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I’ve been exceeding my mobile data plan each month, because when I’m on WiFi, it’s like Every Day I’m Buffering. WLAN eh… But I’ve checked, and it’s definitely not my broadband provider (it’s high-speed fibre, by the way). Could it be my house?
Perhaps you’re in the same boat as me — trying to play a first-person shooter but always lagging at the most inopportune time, or trying to FaceTime a relative who’s stuck abroad due to the Covid-19 situation.
Maybe your favourite study spot in the far corner of your home just seems to be No Man’s LAN. And isn’t it annoying when you try to set up a smart home but there’s always some appliance that’s forever “connecting…”?
Turns out, it could be these issues at home that are disrupting the high-speed internet connection we paid for:
The type of wall in your house
Not all walls are equal, even though those in your home seem to look the same.
Remember your HDB floor plan? Some walls are designated as structural walls and cannot be demolished. Those are made of denser material like reinforced concrete, and combined with metal inside, is a sure-fire way to wither your WiFi signal.
(Please tell me you didn’t put the router in your bomb shelter and shut the door.)
You can also be literally stonewalled by your internet connection if your walls are made of masonry materials like marble and other rocks.
You have a lot of wireless devices
These days, most Bluetooth devices are kind and considerate, and usually their frequency won’t meddle with your WiFi signal.
However, there’s a chance that older devices are more ghetto, and will just do their thing without sparing a thought for other signals. Wireless devices also transmit signals, and this could affect the speed of your Kingdom 2 stream.
Some possible culprits include your FitBit, kawaii NekoMimi wireless headset, wireless keyboard, baby monitor, cordless phone, wireless mics, sous-vide machine… and the list is endless in this era of the Internet of Things.
It could be your microwave
Are you nuking your supper in the microwave while trying to play Mobile Legends? And you can’t seem to figure out why it’s always at this time that your connection ghosts on you.
It could be your microwave, especially if it’s old and the seals and shields are worn down. This allows the microwaves to “leak” out and interfere with your WiFi signal. Don’t sit so close to the microwave, your meal won’t run away.
Mirror, mirror on the walls
It’s an interior design trend here — those full-length mirrors in your living room for the illusion of a larger home. Looks great, but this doesn’t reflect well on your WiFi signal… yes literally.
Invisible to the eye, mirrors and their metal backings can cause WiFi signals to be reflected back. Because mirrors are so good at what they do, the reflected signal is almost as strong and this causes interference.
Yes, it’s easy to blame our neighbours… but they might actually be causing some issues with your WiFi connection, especially if they have installed repeaters, extenders, mesh WiFi and all that jazz to strengthen their connection.
This could cause much disturbance in The Force of your WiFi strength.
Even if you don’t have such a kiasu neighbour, open up the list of WiFi connections and you’ll see just how MANY networks there are around you. This might only get worse during peak hours, for example weekends and evenings when more people are at home.
Some legal things to try include changing the frequency of your router, moving it to another room, or using a wired connection for the important stuff (like surviving an all-important Co-Op mission in Call of Duty).
Wrong placement of your router
So you decided to place the router in a far corner of your house, in a metal cabinet — on the floor. Or you put it on the balcony, near the window.
Remember what we said about metal and windows just now? Also, if the balcony is at a corner of your house, half of that signal’s literally disappearing into thin air.
The birds chirping outside the window certainly aren’t going to upload their birdsongs onto Spotify — but you definitely need a strong WiFi connection to download an important work file.
Try to elevate the router for a better signal, and take heed of all the no-nos we mentioned above.
Did you happen to place it behind the TV or a fish tank? TV signals and a large body of water can also affect your WiFi signal. There shouldn’t be any obstructions, and the router shouldn’t be in an enclosed area for best results.
Your home is just too big
Those who are lucky to afford a large home may not be so lucky when it comes to having a strong WiFi signal.
Some spaces might not have coverage. That alcove where you like to chill and watch Netflix in? It might have the weakest signal, especially if it is very far from your router. Without Netflix, there is no chill, right?
Strengthen your WiFi signal with StarHub Smart WiFi
Okay, so you’ve tried everything, but short of rebuilding your house (or shrinking it), nothing really works.
You might need a mesh WiFi — basically devices that help your router to “blanket” your whole home in a stable and strong WiFi network.
In particular, the mesh WiFi solution from StarHub (Smart WiFi) can dynamically monitor real-time congestion, interferences and signal strength to determine the best channel for your connection.
To put it simply, if there is a “traffic jam” on a channel, StarHub Smart WiFi will automatically switch WiFi channels and frequencies for the best data routes and channels in every part of your home. Lane clear!
Here’s a list of the intelligent features of StarHub Smart WiFi:
- Plug-and-play installation (just scan a QR code on the free mobile app)
- Optimises WiFi connections for every device to perform at its peak
- Monitors congestion, interference, signal strength — will switch WiFi channels and frequencies automatically for the best data routes and channels in every part of your home
- Advanced parental controls
- WiFi heat map to help you determine the best location for the unit(s)
- Automatic software updates for up-to-date security and performance
- 24/7 in-app live chat for technical support
And it’s very affordable.
- StarHub 1Gbps Fibre Broadband plan @ $39.90/month + 1 unit included
(online exclusive price, U.P. $42.90/month)
- StarHub 2Gbps Fibre Broadband plan @ $62.90/month + 2 units included
(recommended for larger homes and/or those with several users at home as you’ll get double the bandwidth with 2 dedicated 1Gbps Fibre connections and double the coverage with 2 units of StarHub Smart WiFi)
*Additional units are available at $5 or $10 each per month over 24 or 12 months respectively; 1 StarHub Smart WiFi unit covers a typical 3-room HDB flat.
Sign up for StarHub Fibre Broadband and get StarHub Smart WiFi now.
Are you using a mesh WiFi system to maximise your internet connection? Let us know in the comments below!